What you need to know before you buy a puppy

Find out what you need to think about before you decide to buy a puppy. There are also tips on finding the right dog breed for you, where to get your dog from, how to settle it in and the rules of owning a dog.

The first things to think about

A responsible owner will first think long and hard about buying a puppy/ dog. A rash decision may cause distress and suffering to the animal and could end up costing the owner a lot more. A puppy will soon become an adult dog that could live for about 13 years or longer.

It's therefore advisable to do some research before buying a dog.  What you need to think about is listed below. 


  • does your lifestyle, such as how you spend your days and evenings, mean that you can offer a dog the things it needs?
  • can you make time to spend with your dog?


  • is your environment safe for a dog?
  • do you have a safe and secure place for your dog to stay?
  • will a dog enjoy staying in your environment?

Exercise, training, play

  • do you know how much exercise, training and play a growing puppy, or dog, needs?
  • can you make sure a puppy/ dog gets enough exercise, training and play?

Doggy behaviour

  • do you know how different breeds behave?
  • do you know how a puppy might behave when it grows into an adult?
  • do you know if any breeds are really friendly?
  • do you know if any breeds are very shy?
  • do you know if any breeds are aggressive?
  • do you know if any breeds won’t like to be near other breeds, or other animals?
  • when a dog behaves in a certain way, are you confident that you know what it needs?

The cost of caring for a dog

Work out how much it will cost to keep a dog, so you can make sure you can afford to care for it. During a dog's lifetime (10 to 15 years) the main costs are:

  • vet's bills such as vaccinations and neutering
  • insurance - in case it's involved in an accident or becomes ill
  • food
  • paying for your dog to stay in a kennel when you're away

Finding the right dog breed for you

There are many different breeds of dogs. Each breed tends to behave in a particular way and knowing about this will help you choose the dog that's right for you. Although there's no guarantee that a particular dog will behave exactly how its breed behaves. Find out more:

Once you've decided that you are able to offer a dog the time, money and commitment that it needs, you then need to think about where to get the dog. You could re-home an unwanted puppy or buy from a responsible breeder or privately. Find out more:

Helping your new puppy settle in 

When you have chosen your new dog, you will need to take it home. For the journey to its new home, it will need a comfortable dog carrier and a cosy blanket. For a longer journey, it will also need water, food and rest stops.

When you have taken your new dog to its new home, make it as relaxed as possible:

  • settle your new dog into its new environment
  • try to minimize exposure to loud noises
  • don’t let children or adults handle the dog too much if it’s nervous
  • if the dog shows signs of distress sit quietly and comfort it
  • make sure you follow advice the breeder/ seller gives you about ‘socialisation’, this is about preparing the puppy for the world around it

Tips on your dogs diet, creating a safe home, signs of illness and more can be found below:

Responsibilities of dog owners

Anyone who decides to get a dog becomes responsible for that animal and will need to know about the rules of owning a dog.  These include:



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